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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 137

Date:- 31 January 2004

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Channel 4 Wants to help house hunters in Southport.

THEY ARE back for the eigth series and they're hungrier than ever. Professional property hunters Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer are taking on the challenge of finding properties in the Southport area.

The new series will be broadcast on primetime Channel 4. This will be a fantastic chance to portray Southport and surrounding areas and showpiece properties currently on the market. We want to show off the area's character, assets and genuine appeal.

If you're in a position to buy and looking to move in the next few months then contact us now for your chance to have Britain's hottest property finding duo on your case.

For more information call 0141 353 8431 or email

Council funding up

LOCAL SERVICES will get an extra £3.7 billion after the Government announced this year's funding grants to councils. 

For the second year running, every local authority will receive at least an above inflation increase in Government grant with many getting substantially more. Local government formula grant will rise by 5.5% to £2.4 billion, with specific grants taking the overall increase to £3.7 billion or 7.3%.

Local Government Minister Nick Raynsford said:- "This year's grant to councils is a substantial investment which will further help councils to deliver improvements in the services they provide while keeping to reasonable council tax increases.

Given this significant extra investment and the scope for efficiency improvements, our view is that local authorities can and should deliver council tax increases next year in low single figures. I hope we do not have to cap authorities. But make no mistake; we are prepared to use our capping powers on any authority if that proves necessary."

The final report published today comes after a consultation period with local government following the Provisional Revenue Support Grant for 2004/05 announcement in November, and the Chancellor's Pre-Budget Report announcement in December of an extra £340 million of grant for English local authorities.

 Tell us your news and views today!


MANAGING director of TransPennine Express Vernon Barker, and Gary Backler, director, Northern and LNE Franchise Management of the Strategic Rail Authority, will officially flag away a TransPennine Express service to mark the start of the new TransPennine Express franchise at Manchester Airport station at the beginning of next week.

Representing the two companies, which have jointly been awarded the franchise, will be Dean Finch, managing director of First Group's rail division and Jean-Pierre Deghaye, director of Keolis. 

The new TransPennine Express service has been created by combining some of the services operated by First North Western and Arriva Trains Northern. Most of the 900 staff will join the new company on its first day of operation.

The company is setting up its own dedicated control centre to minimise train delays and to provide real-time information to stations and on-train staff.

During the franchise, awarded by the SRA, FirstGroup and Keolis - two of Europe's most successful private transport operators - have promised to deliver over £250m-worth of investment, including introducing an entire new fleet of over 50 trains from 2006.

Gary Backler of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), said; "The TransPennine franchise has been key to securing significant new investment into rail services in the north of England. From now on, the people who live and work and wish to travel between the major cities and towns in the North will enjoy the high quality of rail services that they deserve."

Major towns and cities to be served by TransPennine Express include Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Scarborough, York, Hull, Leeds, Huddersfield, Doncaster, Sheffield, Preston, Manchester, Manchester International Airport and Liverpool.

Around 200 services will operate daily across 60 stations, of which half will be managed directly by TPE, which will employ 900 people. The company expects to carry 13 million passengers a year, and is the first new inter-city network since rail privatisation in 1996.

Existing timetables will continue until December 2004, when the first TPE timetable will be introduced. 

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Southport Reporter is a registered Trade Mark of Patrick Trollope.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2004.